Technology is supposed to make life easier, but computers often leave people raging at their machinery. What’s worse is the ever-increasing amount of cars on the road — road rage is an ever-present problem and the net result is that stress levels of the general public are rising.
Luckily, there are some clever sorts out there who have merged computer technology with the car industry to create some fantastic gadgets. Their uses are varied but they all have the added bonus of making your driving experience more enjoyable, less stressful, and safer. Here are ten of the very best to keep you sane during your next journey.
Parrot Asteroid Mini
The elegant Parrot Asteroid Mini is a hands-free, dashboard-mounted multimedia system that is designed to integrate with your car’s audio system and mobile phone to enable voice-activated calls. Based on the Android operating system, the Parrot Asteroid Mini provides access to all of your music and audio sources, as well as offers applications for driver assistance including web radio, navigation tools, points of interest, and alerts.
The device features a neat 3.2-inch full colour screen and a hands-free wireless remote control for safer drive time operation.
GoPro HD Hero3
Marketed as the “world’s most versatile camera”, the GoPro HD Hero3 is a dramatic looking gadget used for creating films of your driving experiences. The tiny high performance camera features built in Wi-Fi and all the attachments you need – including a quick release buckle and various adhesive mounts – for fixing the device to your dashboard or any other part of your car. The camera is waterproof to a depth of 60 metres so can be attached to your car’s exterior in wet weather conditions.
Once rolling, the camera captures all your finest journeys and driving manoeuvres, and the activities of your fellow motorists, all in gloriously sharp HD and high quality immersive audio with wind-noise reduction. Reassuring to have in place, we’re sure.
Griffin iTrip with Aha
Griffin iTrip is a handy gadget that connects to your smart phone to transmit audio on an FM radio frequency and is now teamed up with the Aha app from Harman.
Once the Aha app is installed, you can tune in to a choice of over 30,000 radio stations and listen through your car’s sound system — but that’s not all. You can also configure the app to suit your journey, updating you with points of interest and picking up radio stations for local weather and traffic reports.
Road Angel Gem
Road Angel Gem is a great little device for warning of upcoming speed cameras and letting you know the speed limit where you are driving, helping to keep you safe and in compliance with local laws.
The gadget holds one of the most detailed and accurate database of speed limit, speed camera locations, road hazards and accident black spots. The speed limit of the section of road on which you are travelling is constantly displayed in the corner of the device’s screen so you can manage your speed for safety and comfort.
Road Angel Gem also provides access to a unique service, eAssist. eAssist is a specialised service that allows you to connect and speak with an operator if you get in trouble; the operator appraises your situation and contacts the relevant emergency services to ensure a rapid and appropriate response to the situation.
Cobra iRadar Atom
The Cobra iRadar Atom is another law enforcement detection device designed to sit on your car’s dashboard or windscreen and sense when the police are running speed traps. When the device is connected to an iPhone or Android smartphone running the iRadar app it becomes a powerful law enforcement detection tool, but also helps with general speed and safety management, and there is the ability to share data with other iRadar users via an online community portal.
Delphi Vehicle Diagnostics
This is a discreet device you can plug into your car’s OBD 2 port to provide mechanical and trouble shooting data on your car’s health. Depending on the your car’s technical specifications, there are also many other potential uses for this device beyond its diagnostic functions.
Once paired with a smartphone and the relevant app, you can use the device as a remote control – remotely locking or unlocking doors, checking mileage and speed, starting the engine — and you can also set up ‘geo fences’ that define boundaries the car is allowed to travel in. These tools could be great for parents, employers, or any one else who lends out their car to ensure the vehicle is being driven responsibly and within defined geographical limits.
Devium Dash is a dashboard platform mount designed to hold any smartphone and hook it directly into your car’s stereo system. This means you can use your phone’s music files and apps and access other audio functions such as AM/FM radio for local travel and weather updates, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calls, input jack for auxiliary devices, and other great features. Your phone is recharged while it is attached.
SuperTooth HD is a high performance Bluetooth speakerphone which, the makers claim, is two to three times more powerful than any other similar device on the market.
The gadget has voice-sensitive microphones and advanced voice recognition software for a wide range of hands-free voice commands including dialling, answering or rejecting calls, checking voicemail and battery charge, and making emergency calls. You can also get the device to read aloud incoming SMS messages and emails, and you can dictate emails, update your Facebook wall, and send Twitter tweets – all while you’re driving.
The Kensington Proximo is a gadget designed to be paired with an iOS smartphone with a sensor fob that can be attached to your bag or car keys – if you leave them somewhere the device sounds an alarm to alert you. You can also hide a sensor inside your car to help you locate where it’s parked or, in the unfortunate event your vehicle is stolen, get a head start in tracking its location.
Handpresso Wild Espresso Maker
One of the main dangers on the road is tiredness. The standard advice here is to pull up, get some rest, or if possible grab a stimulating coffee. With the Handpresso Wild Espresso Maker, you can enjoy a freshly-made, reviving cup of espresso coffee anywhere. The handheld device is non-electrical, small and portable, and compatible with all brands of ESE coffee pods – the ultimate for in-car coffee convenience and a tremendous luxury to have around.
Tricks for negotiating with car salesmen: How to Negotiate with Car Salesmen and Get the Best DealFeatured photo credit: ICar ride on road - motion blur via Shutterstock